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4 Month No Heat Challenge Results

www.curlyincolorado.com no heat challenge length checkI finally completed my No Heat Challenge which went from October 1, 2013 to February 1, 2014.  It may sound crazy but it was the longest that I had gone without using heat since my transition to natural hair.  At first, I thought maybe I was going to succumb to the urge to straighten my hair or use a blow dryer.  Once I got the hang of styling my hair in other ways, it ended up being easier than I expected.




During the challenge I allowed myself the use of my hooded dryer for roller sets and drying my wash n’ go curls.  Other than that, I usually just air dried my hair.  My favorite styles ended up being braid outs and ponytail roller sets.  These were easy ways to stretch my hair that also gave my hair manageability.

www.curlyincolorado.com no heat challenge length check
My Current Hair Length
February 2014

Once the four month challenge was over, I straightened my hair for a length check.  I was happy to see that my layers were finally growing out.  After flat ironing my hair I decided to give myself a much needed trim.  One of the things I noticed though was how many single strand knots I had to cut out.  Not good!  My thoughts on that were that maybe I should stay away from tightly curly styles until I get to a length where I’m comfortable with just maintaining.  For now, I’ll be using stretched styles to try and keep the knots under control.

I’ve decided that I’ll probably go another three months before using heat to straighten my hair again.  I really liked how the new hair growing in felt so much thicker and healthier.  I don’t want to damage it by using excess heat.  Overall, I’m pleased with the results and am glad that I challenged myself in this way.  I learned a lot about my hair and what it needs, which will help me obtain my goals.

Have you ever participated in a hair challenge?

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Natural Hair: Growing it Out In Your Own Time

This last couple of weeks I’ve been kicking myself for the frequent trimming that has kept my hair journey stuck in neutral.  Right now my hair sits just below APL (arm pit length) in back and layered in front with bangs (when straight).  My main motivation for going natural was to grow my hair longer.  I figured I was on a five year plan but saw how much faster my hair grew (or broke less) during the first year natural.  I was so excited and figured I would see Bra Strap Length hair (BSL) some time around the halfway mark.  When that didn’t happen, I started to get down on myself and wonder what I was doing wrong.  It also didn’t help that I kept seeing progress pics and videos from others who gained length and thickness in what seemed to be much less time.

HAIR GROWTH TALK AND TIPS
INSPIRATION VIDEO BY “MYNATURALSISTAS”
This week though, I watched a very helpful video that reminded me that everyone’s natural hair journey is different.  It’s okay to look to others’ experiences for inspiration.  However, it is unrealistic to compare my hair to someone else’s even though we may have the same hair texture and starting point.  Each hair journey is a very individual experience and there are so many different variables that decide the outcome.  There’s also a lot to learn along the way and we all do this in our own time. 
For now, I’m going to try to not focus so much on what I DON’T have and get back to appreciating what I DO have.  The longer length will come in time so I’m just going to have some fun with my hair as it is right NOW.
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New Year; Same Hair Goal

Trying to get past this length in 2013

For my hair journey, the beginning of 2013 looks pretty much like the end of 2012.  My main focus this year will be to protect my hair from ME!  That’s right, I’ve figured out the real reason why I’m still sitting at the length I am now.  Some people call it “Scissor Happy” but I’m now calling it counter productive.  I really like when my ends have that blunt cut appearance and when they don’t, I’m pulling out the scissors.  As far as retaining length, with this way of thinking, I’m at a stand still with my hair.

Lately I have been looking for ways to distract myself because yes, I’ve been thinking about cutting again.  I hit APL (Arm Pit Length) at the sides a couple times in 2012 and saw it as an oppurtunity to even things up.  Now, I do still have bangs in the front and layers on the top and sides, so my bottom layer is still the lengthiest part of my hair overall.  I guess I have always wanted to help the other sections catch up to the rest which would mean trimming the longest bits little by little.  Still, even with that being the goal I figured I would just hover at BSL (Bra Strap Length) before trying to make my hair more even.  At this rate, I’ll never see BSL which for me is only two more inches away (in back; when the hair is stretched).

Last fall I counted and it looks like I gave myself at least 6-7 trims throughout the year.  Some to get rid of heat damage (searching for the perfect curl) and some to give my hair that look of blunt ends.  My last trim for 2012 was at the end of November and I honestly think I should put the scissors aside until the spring.  I really am curious to see where my hair will end up in the coming months but the urge to cut is always there.  Not sure if I can do it but I’m gonna try.

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DIY Length Check Tee Shirt

Lovin’ my new DIY Length Check Tee Shirt

I’ve been thinking to myself lately that I would like to see how long I can grow my hair in the next six months.  This would mean a little restraint on my part because I would have to put the scissors down for once.  I have been trimming periodically throughout the year including the mini big chop I did on my bangs.  I think I’m finally ready to see how long my hair can get if I just leave it alone and let it grow.

To keep track of my progress I decided to put pen to tee shirt.  I purchased a white tee from one of my favorite thrift stores last year but didn’t try it on before purchasing it.  When I got it home I realized that it was too snug for me to wear out so it has been in the drawer ever since.  I figured the tight fit actually made it a good choice for a length check shirt so I got it out.

I just used a Sharpie marker and large craft ruler to make lines one inch apart.  I think it would have turned out neater if I used a thinner marker but it should still work just fine.

As of right now I don’t intend on growing my hair to anything past MBL (mid back length).  I hear all the time how people want waist length hair but that just doesn’t appeal to me.  I keep thinking that would be way too much hair to deal with.  Honestly, I would even be happy with BSL (bra strap length).  At least with the tee shirt I’ll be able to see my progress in inches rather than by points on my body.

Here’s how I did it
I used a Sharpie Marker, Craft Ruler, White Tee Shirt
and a piece of  cardboard underneath to protect the floor
Don’t forget to put something inside the shirt or the ink
will bleed through to the front (see my oops?)

I made a dot to mark the center

Then several dots 1 inch apart

Finally I used the straight edge to draw lines across
Then numbered lines with zero as my starting point

I’m so excited to see how my hair measures up in the coming months.  I’ll be sure to post updates when I do my length checks.  
Was this helpful?  Feel free to leave a comment 🙂
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Finally APL and Holiday Hair Styles

My Holiday Make-Up Look
with Roller Set hair

The Holidays were fast and furious which left me feeling like I needed another break after it was all over.  Still, it was a lot of fun dressing up and going out with the family.  I especially enjoyed finally getting to see how long my hair was after the two Hair Growth Challenges I participated in over at K.I.S.S. 
last fall.

One of the challenges encouraged participants to start using Hot Oil treatments on a regular basis while the other asked everyone to start using a Growth Aid to help speed up hair growth.  I kinda fell off the bandwagon on the first one because since I sometimes have gel in my hair, I wasn’t too crazy about applying oils on top of that to do the treatments.  However, I do feel like the second challenge introduced me to an interesting growth aid that appears to actually work.  I’ll speak on that later on down the road.

The two challenges ended in December so I was really excited to see if my hair reaped the benefits of all that hard work.  I am happy to announce that I have finally reached my goal of APL length hair!  The top layers are still hovering around my collar bone thanks to that mini big chop I did last year but the back and bottom layers are doing really well.  Since I like to wear my hair in big curls I can see that I won’t be satisfied until my hair is around BSL or longer.  Right now with curls my hair sits just below my shoulders.

   I also needed a trim so I took care of that and decided to wear my hair down for the holidays.  Since I’ve been using roller sets to stretch my hair out I only ended up flat ironing the entire length of my hair once. The rest of the time I was able to enjoy a straight look with the help of my rollers and a little flat ironing at the roots.  My hair has reverted back and is going to be put away for awhile again but it was fun while it lasted.

Roller Set styled in a
Pin-Up Do with Back Down

Flat Ironed hair after
air drying in braids overnight
Flat Ironed Back View